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Adding additional terms to a tenancy agreement

Photo: The lil house in the Naki by Alex Schwab

Some landlords may find that there are additional clauses they would like to add to their tenancy agreement. While this may seem straightforward, landlords need to be aware that additional clauses must follow the Tenancy Act or they will be found null and void, and breaches of the Tenancy Act are taken very seriously by the Tenancy Tribunal.

What can I add?

Typically, a landlord can add clauses that relate to things which could cause damage or added wear and tear to the rental property. Most commonly these would be:

  • Prohibiting smoking inside the house
  • Limiting the number of occupants allowed to live in the house
  • Designating areas on the property where cars cannot be parked
  • Stating whether the tenant can have pets, including how many and what type
  • Methamphetamine testing

What can’t I add?

Anything that conflicts with the Act cannot be written into tenancy agreements. The clauses that are considered unenforceable are anything that asks a tenant to do more that the Act requires of them, or anything that tries to remove a tenant’s rights.

Examples of unenforceable clauses

  • Requiring professional carpet cleaning at the end of a tenancy. Why is this a breach? Tenants already have a responsibility to leave a property in tidy condition, you cannot require them to do more than is required.
  • Charging additional bond for a pet. Why is this a breach? By law a maximum of 4 weeks rent can be held as bond.
  • Tenants being required to replace worn down stove parts, taps, or fuses as they wear out. Why is a breach? The landlord is responsible for maintaining a property and keeping it in a reasonable state of repair.
  • Tenants need to give 60 days notice to end an on-going agreement. Why is this a breach? The Act only requires a tenant to give a minimum of 21 days notice to end their agreement.
  • Landlords can raise the rent with 1 weeks’ notice. Why is this a breach? The Act clearly lays out the process for raising rent.

At myRent, creating digital tenancy agreements and e-signing them are part of our $10 per month management service. When you create your digital tenancy agreement we automatically add clause for your occupancy, pets, and smoking policies. Furthermore, myRent allows landlords to add custom clauses if they require.

Sometimes adding additional terms to your tenancy agreement is necessary, but you need to be sure that you are following these guidelines or you could find yourself facing an unfavourable ruling from the Tribunal. Remember - anything written into your agreement that is inconsistent with the law has no effect.

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